March 18, 2016
By Stephanie West
Long Island, NY. – Democratic Assemblyman Todd Kaminsky and Republican Chris McGrath are locked in a tight battle in the special election to fill the Senate seat left vacant by the conviction of former Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos. Forty-seven percent of likely voters support Kaminsky and 45 percent support McGrath, according to a new Siena College poll of likely 9th S.D. voters.
McGrath is viewed favorably by 43 percent of likely voters and unfavorably by 23 percent, while Kaminsky has a comparable 44-20 percent favorability rating. Voters give Kaminsky a small edge, saying he would be better fighting corruption in state government and dealing with the minimum wage. On five other issues – including education, Sandy relief and two specific ethics reforms – voters see little difference between McGrath and Kaminsky.
“With five weeks until Election Day, Kaminsky and McGrath are engaged in the textbook definition of a neck and neck race,” said Siena College pollster Steven Greenberg. “Kaminsky runs a little stronger with Democrats than McGrath does with Republicans."
Democrats see corruption and education as top issues; Republicans see property taxes as far and away the top issue; independents see corruption as number one and property taxes second. Both have a strong favorable rating. Kaminsky leads the Assembly district he currently represents by 18 points and trails McGrath by 15 points in an adjacent Assembly district currently represented by a Republican. The two run close in the other Assembly districts that account for about one-fifth of the Senate district.
“This special election can move in any direction over the next five weeks as the campaigns heat up. It may very well turn out to be determined by turnout and which party can do a better job bringing its voters to the polls on this presidential primary day. This has barnburner written all over it,” Greenberg said.
***This Siena College 9th S.D. survey was conducted March 6-9, 2016 by telephone calls to 529 likely voters.